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Sufism, Submission and Discipline

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.sufi,alt.islam.sufism,talk.religion.misc,alt.thelema,alt.consciousness.mysticism
From: (haramullah)
Subject: Sufism, Submission and Discipline
Date: 12 Sep 1997 10:12:13 -0700

49970826 aa2     

assalam alaykum, my kin.

#> However the company of the elect is difficult. People say guide me (but
#> do it like this). Teach me your knowledge (but only in the words I like
#> to hear). I will do what you say (but only at my convenience). The
#> reason few attain is because few are willing to make efforts (what you
#> mean now?).

around me it seems many are willing to make efforts.  the difficulties
begin with not having a direction we can trust.  shifting from source
to source, reflection to reflection, instructor to instructor, whim to
whim, we flutter, caught in the wind, first assisting our soul, next
doing it damage.  knowledge (that is, certainty) prevents us from being
open to ideas important to our growth.  hubris prevents us from seeing
our weaknesses and failures.  the elect *are* a difficult company, in
part because they are difficult to be sure they *are* elect, and part
because they shine so brightly that we have to shield our eyes lest we
go blind in their presence.  sometimes the smallest commentary on our
nafs will seem a horrid insult, or the most arbitrarily asked question
will seem the utmost blasphemy.

Germaine :
# I AM willing to make efforts...  and "I" gets in the way. How can I 
# get past that? 

this is the first step, then: finding a way to shift past the 'I' which
prevents our being able to submit to *some* will.  once we can do that
(many learn in childhood, finding ways to submit to parents; some will
learn in love, finding ways to submit to the dearest friend or lover)
then we must find the will which is correct for us to truly mature.  if
we submit to the wayward we are liable to suffer.  if we submit to the
self-enclosed we are liable to be assimilated.

but how to get past the 'I' that gets in the way?  one way might be to
become the will that directs for a time.  in my Order we have a book
called  _Liber Jugorum_ which the author described as "an instruction 
for the control of speech, action and thought."  it is a guide for the
development of discipline, and it is discipline which is required in
the struggle against the nafs to be able to submit to any will whatever.

in _Liber Jugorum_ there is an extreme discipline suggested, though it
is understood by many of my kin in my Order that it is intended extreme
so as to be diluted to ability or need, like a concentrate of juice to
which we add water to taste.  it describes a practice of obtaining a
razor blade, of watching one's own speech, action and thought, and when
certain key-items arise, taking action to discipline it out of behavior
through the use of self-inflicted pain on our arm.

one example given is whenever one utters the word "I" then such a cut
should be made upon the arms.  another is to analyze one's bodily
habits of posture or act and find one which is common, eliminating that
through repeated self-training.  one needn't use a razor blade, as it
is an extreme method.   we could just as well place a rubber band upon
our wrists and snap it whenever the offense is committed.

from engaging such practices we come under submission of our *own*
will, learning discipline and taming the nafs in preparation for more
subtle and profound transformation to follow.

# How can I take everything out of my heart that is not suitable?

this can be VERY difficult!  sometimes only through a relationship with
a sheikh can we come to the purification of our hearts.  sometimes it
requires a long time of practices, or abstention from practice, activity,
or speech before we can find such purity.  some even suggest that only 
the Grace of Allah or an encounter with certain divine agents allows 
this development.  it is a truly an advanced state to which you refer.

Lobster reveals:
#> The bitter medicine may make us well.
#> Too much sweetness may destroy our well being.
# My mind understands this. But my soul rebels. How do I tame my soul?   

is this not the entirety of the path of which you ask?  how to tame
the soul which rebels?!  my understanding is that as we are each quite
different of background and character it takes a different course for
such a taming to occur.  it may include similar or completely diverse
methods.  some need guidance.  others seem capable of proceeding on
their own enter into a relationship with the divine directly, and some 
are not capable of any movement without extreme labor.  

the methods may be strange-looking and completely contrary to either
what we are told is the goal or what passes for worldly objectives.
they may vary from one period to the next, first shaping us this way,
then molding us that way.  all the while we may have completely lost
orientation and be sailing in the compassionate currect of our guide.

# By accepting God's Will. 
# I know that submission is the way of the Sufi. It's what I try to do. 
# But I don't seem to be doing it right. What am I missing?

lovely!  first is coming to see our error, then we ask how to fix it.
we don't seem to be doing it right.  how can we tell?  what symptoms
are there which indicate a wayward journey?  is it the case of missing
something, or having too much of something?  do we need more structure
or discipline, or should we ease out, relax, and pay more attention to
what is happening now?  these can be difficult questions to answer.

# Is my head filled with "fantasies" of what a Sufi is?

please tell us these fantasies, however well-founded.  share with us
what dreams you have about sufism, what ideals you come to the forum
seeking to find or destroy.  confess to us your glorious falsities
and your deepest insights.  through sharing we can begin to compare
and contrast experiences, discerning the realistic from the fantasy.

# Then continue to teach me the reality. 

who is a sufi?    sifting through the haus library here for a clue to
resolve in my addled brain the Arabic 'murshid' and 'murid', I came
across the text below which describes the "true spiritual teacher"
or "Sufi master".  see if you like it, if it fits your fantasies or
realities.  comment upon it if you have reflections.  thanks.

	A true spiritual teacher must have the proper basic
	qualities, just as a physician is supposed to have
	fulfilled primary basic requirements before he can
	practise medicine.  To begin with, a spiritual guide,
	that is a Sufi master, must be knowledgeable about
	all the outer aspects of the original way of Islam
	and its way of life.  He must be fully conversant
	with the knowledge and practice of the way of Islam.
	He should apply what is in the Qur'an and the prophetic
	way of life to himself.  If he has not practised the
	outer laws, how can he have practised the inner aspects
	of this way of life, let alone recommend others to
	practise them?  So the true spiritual master must
	himself live the outer and inner codes of Islam fully.

	Another condition of a spiritual master being a true
	teacher is that he must have achieved real enlightenment
	by arriving at a complete knowledge of the self.  The
	spiritual master must know the extraordinary vast 
	horizon of the self.  Whoever knows his self, truly he
	knows his Lord.

	A true spiritual master must also have been given the
	express permission to start out and guide others on
	the path of self-knowledge, by another enlightened 
	and experienced teacher who himself had been given
	permission to teach, and so on, back to the Prophet
	Muhammad.  For there are people who keep within the
	outer limits of Islamic Law, others who have achieved
	self-knowledge, and still others who have attained
	the gnosis as well as the knowledge of the self, and
	yet they are unable to guide others.  Just as it is
	not enough for a physician to have only studied and
	passed examinations, and observed and assisted other
	physicians in their work, before he himself can begin
	to practise medicine in his own right [sic].  He must
	also be given the permission or licence [sic] to 
	practise medicine by a qualified physician who is
	satisfied with his ability to do so.

	Another prerequisite is that there should be a seeker
	to receive knowledge from the spiritual master, just
	as there has to be a patient before a physician can
	practise his medicine.  Finally, just as it is of no
	use for a physician to attend to a sick person if he
	is unable or unwilling to accept the remedy for his
	illness, so there is no need of a spiritual master
	if the seeker is not keen to follow.
	_The Elements of Sufism_, by Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri,
	  Element Books, 1990; pp. 33-4.

# You spoke of bewilderment, before. I'm still bewildered. 
# So much has happened, so fast, so recently.
# And I haven't yet learned "how to learn". The book you recommended will be
# delayed another 2-3 weeks.

by what are you bewildered?  conflicting information?  will a book
resolve this?  will additional voices of instruction?

may you find the path of self-knowledge and come to peace with bewilderment
in your own time.  with 999 veils, how can I see through them at once? 
perhaps success means in part learning to live with bewilderment.  :>

peace be with you,

(emailed replies may be posted);join the AMT syncretism!!;call: 408/2-666-SLUG!
see; "Clement of Rome taught that God rules the world
with a right and a left hand, the right being Christ, the left Satan." - CGJung

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